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Business efficiency is all about working smarter, not harder.

Your company may be running smoothly, but ensuring your business makes the most of its resources for maximum productivity and customer experience isn’t easy.

For business owners and decision makers alike there are many factors that prevent their organisations from running more efficiently for example:

  • Dependency on certain processes and resources
  • The use of more resources than required
  • Poor balance between productivity and resources

An over-ruling barrier to business efficiency, however, is fear of change.

Why do businesses struggle so much with change?

Every market sector, regardless of how niche or long standing it is, experiences shifts in its environment. In today’s fast-paced, consumer-savvy marketplaces, businesses that cannot change or move with the times are deemed antiquated or old fashioned quickly.

Your company may be driven by tried-and-tested processes and well-honed habits. And while the order habit brings can seem more powerful and efficient than change with all its apparent risks, overcoming fear of the unknown and taking steps towards meaningful change is how businesses increase efficiency.

To combat these struggles, Phil Foster, Managing Director ofBusiness energy comparison site Love Energy Savings speaks to top business experts to provide the following tips:

  1. Communicate with your team

Communication and transparency are key to overcoming fear and introducing the changes that make increasing business efficiency possible, according to Phil:

“Whatever change you’re looking to make, engaging staff at all stages is important. If managed incorrectly, change can be unsettling and even painful. By communicating your strategy, you can alleviate any fears your employees may have as well as reduce your own.”

  1. Understand where your fears come from

Understanding the basis of your business fears is a great place to begin, as Elizabeth McCourt, Founder of leadership consulting organisation McCourt Leadership Group, explains:

“Change can feel like jumping off a cliff with no net and the worry that no one will come with you. It’s important to take a hard look at the basis of the fear. Is that fear an untruth you’ve been telling yourself? Or perhaps a protective truth pushed to extreme or worst-case scenario paralysis? Once we take the time to notice the basis of the fear, there is an opportunity to address it. Can conversations be had to articulate the fear and communicate the strategy better so that there is more support on a particular decision?”

  1. Focus on the positives

Nigel Whiteout, Founder of online sewing marketplace LoveCrafts, sees focusing on the advantages of change as an integral part of overcoming fear and standing up to your own corporate morality:

“Accepting the need to cannibalise your own business to stay alive requires facing your existential demons. Does the effort of change bring new customers or sales opportunities? If so, embrace it. Businesses must accept that, without change, revenue will surely disappear to new entrants to the market who don’t care about your entitled sense of corporate self. To overcome this fear, businesses need to concentrate on the benefits of change and think of the past as a prologue of what’s to come.”

  1. Include your staff

For Sean Mallon, Bizdaq CEO, gaining an insight from staff at all levels should also be a part of the process. Involving your employees can actually help to remove the fear of change for everyone:

“Big changes are often made by senior management with no consultation with their staff. This can make employees feel unheard and undervalued. We found that, by discussing any changes with staff before they’re made and involving them in the decision-making process, everyone was much more receptive to change. This approach even improved the decisions we made.”

  1. Provide support

Support after the implementation of change is as important as being transparent from the top down. Susy Roberts, Founder of people development consultancy Hunter Roberts, says:

“Learning to do things a different way and refocusing priorities ramps up the pressure on people who may already be carrying a heavy load. It takes time and reassurance for people to truly believe that a new way of doing things can be more productive and even make their jobs easier in the long run.

“Managers will need to adopt a coaching approach to working with their teams, making it their responsibility to support people through learning to do things differently. Change must be embraced by the whole company for it to be successful. This means making sure everyone understands the vision and is clear on the impacts of change – not just on themselves but on other people.”

Change is inevitable for all businesses, but fear of the unknown shouldn’t stop you from achieving your objectives.


Honda’s part self-driving Legend a big step for autonomous tech



Honda's part self-driving Legend a big step for autonomous tech 1

TOKYO (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co Ltd on Thursday unveiled a partially self-driving Legend sedan in Japan, becoming the world’s first carmaker to sell a vehicle equipped with new, certified level 3 automation technology.

The launch gives Japan’s No.2 automaker bragging rights for being the first to market, but lease sales of the level 3 flagship Legend would be limited to a batch of 100 in Japan, at a retail price of 11 million yen ($102,000).

Still, the new automation technology is a big step towards eliminating human error-induced accidents, chief engineer Yoichi Sugimoto told reporters.

The Legend’s “Traffic Jam Pilot” system can control acceleration, braking and steering under certain conditions.

Once the system is activated, a driver can also watch movies or use the navigation on the screen, helping to mitigate fatigue and stress when driving in a traffic jam, Honda said in a statement.

It can alert the driver to respond when handing over the control, such as vibration on the driver’s seatbelt, the carmaker said. And if the driver continues to be unresponsive, the system will assist with an emergency stop by decelerating and stopping the vehicle while alerting surrounding cars with hazard lights and the horn, it added.

The announcement comes after the Japanese government awarded a safety certification to Honda’s “Traffic Jam Pilot” in November.

Global automakers and tech companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Tesla Inc, have been investing heavily in autonomous driving.

Yet even as the technology advances, regulations on autonomous driving differ from country to country. Audi unveiled an A8 sedan with level 3 technology in 2017 but regulatory hurdles have prevented it from being widely introduced.

Honda has no plans to increase production or sales of a level 3-equipped Legend for now, its operating officer said on Thursday.

($1 = 107.3400 yen)

(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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Airbus to avoid redundancies in Germany, France, Britain



Airbus to avoid redundancies in Germany, France, Britain 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – Airbus will make no forced redundancies in France, Germany and Britain, the European planemaker said on Thursday, as it reached an agreement with a German trade union to protect jobs until the end of 2023.

A spokesman for Airbus, which has been hit hard by slumping demand for aircraft in the coronavirus crisis, said other measures – such as voluntary redundancy programmes, early retirement or internal transfers – had been agreed instead.

Negotiations started later in Spain, the spokesman said.

Airbus has been struggling to reach targets to cut staff as part of a restructuring plan affecting up to 15,000 jobs, especially at its headquarters in France and in German plants, sources had earlier told Reuters.

The IG Metall union and works council representing Airbus workers in Germany said they had agreed with the aircraft manufacturer on an overall package to safeguard employment and sites in the country until the end of 2023.

About 1,300 employees at Airbus Germany and 1,000 at Premium Aerotec, a subsidiary that makes large plane components, took voluntary redundancy between November and February, Holger Junge, head of the group works council, told a news conference.

“Production figures have stabilised,” Junge said. “But we have not overcome the crisis.”

Airbus agreed to avoid further job cuts through short-time work and reducing hours by up to 20% from 2022, he said. Airbus employs about 55,000 people in Germany.

In January, Airbus stuck to ambitions for a partial recovery in jet production later this year, although there is speculation that it may have to delay that due to extended coronavirus lockdowns in Europe. [nL1N2JJ1DU]

(Reporting by Christina Amann and Alexander Huebner, writing by Emma Thomasson, editing by Thomas Escritt)

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Shell changes senior UK leadership in global overhaul



Shell changes senior UK leadership in global overhaul 3

By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is changing the senior leadership of its operations in Britain as part of a global overhaul to cut costs and shift away from oil and gas to renewables and power.

Under the changes, which have been announced internally, country chair Sinead Lynch will become Shell’s global head of low-carbon fuels, a company spokeswoman said.

Lynch, who joined the Anglo-Dutch company in 2016 following its acquisition of BG Group, will be replaced by David Bunch who currently runs Shell’s retail business across Europe and South Africa. Bunch joined Shell in 1997.

The changes will take effect in August when Shell rolls out project Reshape, its biggest restructuring in decades as part of plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by mid-century and build a large low-carbon and power business.

Under the overhaul, Shell will cut 9,000 jobs, or more than 10% of its workforce.

As part of the management changes, Steve Phimister, head of Shell’s oil and gas operation in the North Sea since 2017, will be replaced by Simon Roddy, currently deputy managing director at Shell’s Nigerian onshore oil and gas joint venture SPDC.

Phimister’s new role in the company has yet to be announced.

Shell has gradually reduced its oil and gas operations and refining business in recent years but Britain remains an important market. The North Sea will remain one of nine main oil and gas hubs, the company said last year.

Shell also has a large retail network in the country and plans to significantly boost its electric vehicle charging point network. In January it agreed to acquire Ubitricity, the largest public EV charging network in Britain with over 2,700 points.

Shell’s European rivals including BP and Total have also set out ambitious long-term plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions and build large renewable energy businesses.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by David Clarke)

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